Technology — 29 April 2015

Here we describe why a developer might pick Android over iOS.

Market Share

But first, there are business reasons to consider:

* Android has an 77% market share worldwide.

* On the other hand, Apple device owners have shown themselves to be more willing to pay for apps.

* Also the Android devices tend to cost less, so for the emerging market,Android is definitely the way to go.

More Programmers Already Know Java

Most programmers already know Java as it has been around 1995 and is taught in schools. Android is programmed using the Java language with Android tools added to that. It’s free to download Java to teach it to yourself. Java works on all computer operating systems.

Fewer Developers know Apple Languages and you Need a Mac

Contrast that with Apple’s programming languages for iOS: Objective-C and the much newer language called Swift. To program either of those, you have to have a Mac, which is expensive.

Also Object-C uses the syntax of an event-driven programming language. That is a shift in thinking that Java programmers will need to time to grasp.

Android has a Wealth of Tools for the Smartphone and Tablet

Android and iOS both have a wealth of tools to rendering the screen and handling tasks. This makes it easy for the programmer to:

* Make push buttons, scroll bars, and menus.

* Automatically re-size objects on the screen for best fit when the phone or tablet is rotated.

* Create different kinds of layouts like tabs, sliders, input text on the top and on the side.

* Interact with different devices like the accelerator (let’s you know when the phone is moved), gyroscope (tells you which direction the phone is pointed), GPS, and even chips like temperature and humidity sensors.

* Launch apps and pass them data, like Google Maps or the camera.

* Handle complicated multitasking tasks easily like spawning a separate task to download data from the internet and then make it visible when it is ready.

* Translate the app into any language, like Tagalog. You can pay a freelance translator to do that.

Better Development Tools for Android

The iOS development platform is called Xcode. The Java one is called Eclipse. Eclipse has become the de facto standard for writing code and has been around many years. It also lets third party developers contribute open-source extensions. So you can:

* Debug programs as they are running.

* Test your app on all different phone models, versions of Android, and screen sizes.

* Work on a large team of developers to check in and checkout code.

* Automate testing.

* Create a shell of a program using a wizard. Then you just fill in the details.

* Write code in other programming languages (for specific tasks. Those would not run on the Android.)

Xcode does a lot of this too, but there are substantially less tools.

Java has a Wealth of Tools, Easier to Attach to Corporate Backend

Java has an enormous array of free tools developed by third-parties that make working with databases and corporate backends easier. These are called frameworks. Many businesses want a cellphone app for their existing backend web systems. All of these frameworks make things easier and quicker for the programmer.

For example, there are frameworks for:

* Posting updates to the cloud using messages (called web services).

* Encrypting data.

* Do complicate mathematics such as needed for analytics.

* Post transactions like a sales order to the corporate back end.

* Work with new bigdata databases like Hadoop.

* Work with databases in an easy-to-understand manner.

* Handle streaming data like social media.

Features for the Greedy Marketer

There are some privacy issues that not many people pay attention too. Apple in general is more cognizant of privacy. Android is not.

When people install an Android app, they usually do not pay attention to the screen when they click through it to give permissions. Also there is no way to opt out: it’s all or nothing.

Now you can see that even supposedly honest firms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook have permission to items they do not need. A dishonest Android developer can do this too and harvest information such as can be sold to data brokers for advertising purposes or improve their own advertising.

This information that is given out on a permissions basis include:

* Read contacts.

* Obtain location from GPS.

* Obtain location from Wi-Fi router name (these are crowdsourced and vacuumed up by Google StreetView vehicles).

* Read and send text messages.

* Take pictures.

* Record audio.

* Modify storage.

* Add or remove accounts.

* Control Bluetooth and NFC radio transmitter chips.

* Read voice call logs.


Both programming languages offer much better security than, say, Windows on the PC. Still Android and iOS have been hacked before. But they are both good at protecting memory and underneath files. That is the weakness in Windows. Also one program on iOS and Android cannot read the data from another program, which makes hacking less possible. So from a security point of view they are the same.


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